Kent crowned T20 Blast 2021 Champions

Kent crowned T20 Blast 2021 Champions

Despite 3-19 from Roelof van der Merwe, a well earned 58* from Jordan Cox steered Kent to 167-7 after Lewis Gregory again won the toss and opted to bowl first. 

Somerset could only reach 142-9, with the final ball being struck into the Hollies Stand by Marchant De Lange. It was a fitting end to Somerset’s explosive, entertaining, rollercoaster bridesmaid T20 season. 

Kent finished top of the South Group, and despite losing both group encounters v Somerset, they held their nerve in front of a passionate, Somerset-fan-filled Edgbaston crowd.  

Proper opening batting from Zak Crawley and Daniel Bell-Drummond (DBD), playing themselves in, with proper positive cricket shots taking them up to nearly a run a ball strike-rate towards the end of the powerplay. It set a perfect platform for T20 cricket.

40-0 after five saw Gregory gamble and give van der Merwe the final over of the powerplay.  And, yet again, the van der Merwe bowling promotion paid off much better than his batting promotion.

DBD (18) swept straight to Will Smeed, then next ball Joe Denly charged and struck high over the covers only for Tom Abell to channel his inner-Usain Bolt, Tom Daley and Max Waller all in one, and take one of the best catches finals day has seen.  

There was no hat trick, but 46-2 was a vast improvement for Somerset than 40-0 before spin was introduced six balls earlier. 

Van der Merwe only had to wait until his next over for his third, though, with Sam Billings (2) going back and flat batting straight to Gregory at short extra cover. The hero for Somerset in the quarter-final (4-27) again showing why he keeps Max Waller and Jack Leach out of the side. His first ball was hit for four but he took 3-7 after that.

Fellow left armer Lewis Goldsworthy took the next, when Crawley pulled to Tom Lammonby running around on the deep midwicket boundary. Out for 41, it was 74-4 as Jordan Cox joined Jack Leaning in the twelfth.  

So far all four wickets had gone to left-arm spin and all from the media centre end. It could have been five had Tom Banton taken the stumping chance off Leaning in the Dutchman’s final over.  

A wicket fell to seam for the first time in the final in the 16th, and of course it was the semi-final man-of-the-match Josh Davey. Gregory held on to a skier at short fine leg to see Leaning gone for 27. 

Somerset must have been grateful that Darren Stevens was kept in the hut for so long. He got to 12 off eight effortlessly before being run out. 

Jordan Cox continued to hit and run really well, reaching 50 with just one boundary and three sixes struck. He added to this with consecutive fours in the last over to end 58*, and Kent 167-7 – just one short of their semi-final score.  

Denly gave Kent an ideal start having Banton well stumped by Billings’ second ball for 0. Then Fred Klaassen picked up where he left off in the semi, with Goldsworthy caught well by DBD for 3. It was 3-2 after 2.  

Smeed took five balls and took until the last ball of the third to get off the mark, but he did so by pulling a Denly long hop for six.  

Somerset finished the powerplay with a flurry of boundaries to reach 47-2, one run ahead. 

Abell was caught at point off Qais Ahmad for 26 off 20 balls with 107 still to win in the ninth. it was 71-3, six ahead on halfway.

Then came the most controversial moment, which this report does not have space to detail fully, but do go back through @HarryEverett_14 twitter feed if you want the thoughts on Will Smeed’s caught six. He was caught soon after off Denly anyway so we’ll leave it at that! 

That moment will have cricket anoraks consulting the laws of cricket for months to follow, but Tom Lammonby’s lbw – the next wicket – was simply the wrong decision, so no discussion needed there.  

But Jordan Cox, without a doubt, provided the most sublime piece of brilliance of the entire competition. Lewis Gregory had what appeared to be a certain six in front of the Hollies Stand, only for the Kent top scorer to charge, leap and slap the ball to Matt Milnes to catch.  

From hereon in Somerset simply had too much to do, despite the proven hitting ability of their lower order.  Davey and De Lange had some fun at the end, both striking sixes in the final over, but 142-9 saw them lose by 25 runs.

The two group stage triumphs counted for nothing, as Kent won the match that most mattered. South Group winners Kent have been crowned T20 Blast 2021 Champions. 


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